Politics

Political news from around NC and beyond.

President Donald Trump, center, gives a thumbs up as he shows his support for congressional candidates Rep. Ted Budd, right, and Mark Harris, left, during a campaign rally in Charlotte in October.
Chuck Burton / AP

President Donald Trump is spreading tall tales about election fraud.

Asked about ballot malfeasance involving a Republican in North Carolina, the president insisted he condemns voter fraud "of any kind, whether it's Democrat or Republican" and pointed to a "million fraudulent votes" cast in California. But no such case exists.

Travis Long / The News & Observer Pool

With a new election ordered in North Carolina's disputed congressional race, a key question remains unanswered: Who could face criminal charges after a state elections board hearing exposed evidence of ballot fraud?

Among those in potential legal trouble are the central figure in the scandal, political operative Leslie McCrae Dowless, and some of those working for him. According to testimony heard by the board, they illegally gathered up voters' absentee ballots and, in some cases, filled in votes and forged signatures.

www.ncleg.net / NC General Assembly

There was plenty of dramatic testimony during an evidentiary hearing related to election fraud this week.

On this review of North Carolina politics, WUNC Capitol Bureau Chief Jeff Tiberii speaks with Becki Gray, of the John Locke Foundation, and Rob Schofield, of N.C. Policy Watch, about the drama stemming from the 9th Congressional race, as well as the latest proposal to establish improved political maps.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

Congressman David Price returns to the podcast to discuss some of what is playing out in the political landscape.

He discussed a range of topics in front of a studio audience in Chapel Hill, on Thursday.

Price weighed in on election fraud, his late friend Walter Jones, while also answering a myriad of questions from constituents.

Mark Harris at hearings into allegations that his campaign committed election fraud.
Rusty Jacobs, WUNC

The North Carolina State Board of Elections is calling for a new vote in the state’s 9th Congressional District. The unanimous decision came after four days of dramatic hearings into allegations of election fraud by the campaign of Republican Mark Harris. 

AP IMAGE
Juli Leonard/The News & Observer via AP, Pool / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Updated at 4:40 p.m

There will be a new election in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District. The unanimous decision from the North Carolina State Board of Elections comes after four days of dramatic hearings into suspected election fraud.

Updated at 5:16 p.m. ET

After months of insisting that he knew of no illegal activity being done on behalf of his campaign, Republican Mark Harris, who leads the race for North Carolina's 9th Congressional District, called Thursday for the State Board of Elections to hold a new election.

Shortly afterward, the bipartisan state board voted unanimously to redo the only congressional race left from the 2018 midterm elections that remains undecided.

Rusty Jacobs, WUNC

Updated at 4:05 p.m.

The North Carolina State Board of Elections has voted unanimously in favor of a new election for the contested 9th Congressional District.

Rusty Jacobs, WUNC

The state election board's hearing into possible vote tampering in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District race featured some explosive testimony Tuesday.
 

The star witness was Andy Yates, who founded political his political consultancy, Red Dome Group, in 2013.

Republican Mark Harris hired the Charlotte-area firm in 2017 to oversee his campaign for the 9th District congressional seat.

Travis Long / The News & Observer via AP, Pool

Updated at 7:10 p.m.

The son of the Republican candidate in the 9th Congressional District testified Wednesday that he warned his father in 2017 about a political operative who his father ultimately hired for the 2018 elections. John Harris spoke during the hearing over ballot irregularities in the election between his father Republican Mark Harris and Democrat Dan McCready.

In the N.C. Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday morning. Lawmakers were set to will consider a bill to restore the Court of Appeals to 15 judges. Republicans had reduced the bench from 15 to 12, two years ago.
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

Some North Carolina Republicans now want to give up on the law they approved two years ago that reduces the number of Court of Appeals judges from 15 to 12 as retirements and other vacancies arise.

Mark Harris at hearings into allegations that his campaign committed election fraud.
Rusty Jacobs, WUNC

Disarray in the administration of the country's last undecided congressional election was illustrated Tuesday when three poll workers testified some votes were counted days ahead of Election Day.

Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

The state elections board opened its hearing Monday into alleged ballot fraud in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District race. And how it went all depends on whom you ask.

Executive director of the Board of Elections Kim Strach listens during the public evidentiary hearing on the 9th Congressional District investigation Monday, Feb. 18, 2019, at the North Carolina State Bar in Raleigh, N.C.
Juli Leonard / The News & Observer via AP, Pool

A Republican operative, who last year rounded up votes for a GOP candidate running for Congress, conducted an illegal and well-funded ballot-harvesting operation, North Carolina's elections director said Monday.

Rusty Jacobs / WUNC

A moment of reckoning has arrived for the newly appointed state elections board. The five-member panel begins an evidentiary hearing Monday into alleged vote tampering in North Carolina's 9th congressional district.

Wikimedia Commons

A unique figure in North Carolina politics died earlier this week.

Becki Gray, of the John Locke Foundation, and Rob Schofield, of NC Policy Watch, discuss the legacy of Congressman Walter Jones, who passed away at age 76 on Sunday.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

Chuck McGrady sits down for a conversation about some of the notable legislation he is pursuing this year at the North Carolina General Assembly.

The Republican state representative from Henderson County has introduced a bill to establish independent redistricting, wants to change ABC regulations, and continues to have an eye on environmental issues.

McGrady also discusses his time leading a summer camp and his friendship with Congressman John Lewis.

State Lawmakers Scrutinize DMV Relocation Plan

Feb 12, 2019
Specialty license plates are becoming more common in North Carolina.
N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles / N.C. Department of Transportation

Some state lawmakers worry that a plan to move the Department of Motor Vehicles headquarters from Raleigh to Rocky Mount doesn't account for the cost to relocate workers or the impact of a longer commute.

About 400 DMV workers would be impacted by the move, with many facing an average commute time of about two hours round trip.

DMV employee Nicole Hunter told members of the State House Transportation Appropriations Committee on Tuesday the move will make it hard for her to care for her grandchild and aging family members in Raleigh.

 U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., points at a photograph of Marine Sgt. Michael Edward Bits of Ventura, Calif., the first military funeral he and his wife attended,
Andrew Harnik, File / AP

North Carolina Congressman Walter Jones died Sunday, the day of his 76th birthday. Jones gained a reputation as a political maverick during more than 24 years in Washington.

Official portrait of U.S. Representative Walter Jones
U.S. Congress

U.S. Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina died this Sunday at age 76. He was the second in his family to serve in Congress and was known for voting across party lines and for crossing those lines himself. He served as a Democrat in the North Carolina General Assembly for five terms before switching to the Republican party ahead of his first run for the U.S. House. 

Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C. poses for a portrait in his office on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017, in Washington
Andrew Harnik / AP

Walter Jones, a second generation North Carolina Congressman who was both a Republican and a Democrat during his time in public office, died Sunday on his 76th birthday. 

Wikimedia Commons

State lawmakers are easing into the long legislative session.

On this week's review of North Carolina politics, Becki Gray, of the John Locke Foundation, and Rob Schofield, of N.C. Policy Watch, discuss some of the policy movement so far at the General Assembly.

Women members of Congress, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., center, cheer after President Donald Trump acknowledges more women in Congress during his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington.
J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech struck analysts as both bipartisan and deeply divided. He called for unity and shared bipartisan victories, and he also promised he would build a border wall and warned lawmakers that there cannot be peace and legislation while there are ongoing investigations. 

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

NPR Political Correspondent Don Gonyea is already on the 2020 campaign trail.

This week he was in Iowa to watch the State of The Union and hear reaction from prospective voters.

He joins the WUNCPolitics Podcast this week to discuss the Midwest, a new slot on the election calendar for California, and Tiny Desk Concerts.

photo of asheville and the surrounding mountains at dusk
Michael Tracey/Public Domain

Why is Asheville not fighting a redistricting plan from the state legislature? Asheville’s local elections use an “at-large” system, which means that the six city council members and mayor are elected citywide. But last summer, state lawmakers created five districts for the Asheville City Council and delayed local elections for a year. 

Annette Elizabeth Allen / NPR

President Trump is delivering his State of the Union address, which the White House says will outline a "policy agenda both parties can rally behind."

Yet the speech follows the longest shutdown in U.S. history, and the deadline to avoid another one is in less than two weeks. NPR reporters covering the White House, Congress, immigration, national security and more are annotating his remarks live, adding context and analysis.

Meg Kelly / NPR

President Trump is delivering a State of the Union address after a delay due to the government shutdown. Watch his speech live, followed by a Democratic response delivered by former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.

The 10-member Council of State gathered Tuesday for its regular meeting, but postponed a decision on moving the DMV headquarters to Rocky Mount.
Jeff Tiberii / WUNC

A decision on whether to move the state headquarters of the Division of Motor Vehicles from Raleigh to Rocky Mount is being delayed for at least a month.

North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Martin announced that he will step down at the end of February to become the dean of Regent University law school in Virginia. Martin was one of two Republican justices remaining on the state Supreme Court, and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper will choose his replacement. 

North Carolina legislative building
Wikimedia Commons

In this week's review of North Carolina political happenings, Billy Ball, of N.C. Policy Watch, and Becki Gray, of the John Locke Foundation, discuss an unexpected vacancy on the state Supreme Court, as well as a Roy Cooper fundraising event that has garnered plenty of criticism from the GOP.

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